Sunday, November 29, 2020

Problem to Solve

I'm still working on my first full length work of fiction, which was actually inspired by a real event that happened at my high school when I was 17. Because I wanted this to be a YA novel, I realized I might have a problem, telling a story set in the 80s to younger readers who might find themselves distracted each time the high school kids have no cell phones or texting or social media.

This is a significant problem because there's nothing worse than being in the middle of a story and suddenly having that ZONE broken, interrupting the flow. It can be a typo or an incorrect fact or just anything that has the zing of wrong, and it makes you stop, be puzzled, and then you have to try to get back into it again. Personally, when I find this happening two or three times, I often give up on the book I'm reading. I do this with irritation: why did the author make it hard for me to stay in the story?

So I don't want to do that to YA readers. 

I wondered, maybe if enough 80s era details were in the story, this would solve the problem. But I don't think so. Any subtle 80s references would likely be missed or just be confusing to a 15 year old reader. Overexplaining just turns it into an 80s guide and goes off on a long road away from the actual story. Maybe in a TV show, this could be more easily done. Or maybe if I had more skill, I could figure out how to do it.

But working with what I have, I think the story has to be set in vague current times. Pre Covid time, but mid iphone time.

The focus needs to be on the kids and their story. The story is about how bad girls can be to other girls. That story is evergreen; it should be immediately relatable to girls 12-18 in any city anywhere. 

Back to work.

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